Guilt…

Well, I’m not sure how to write about what I’m thinking but I feel a need to get it out.

I’m not posting this to get people to praise me or tell me what a wonderful friend/person I am. I’ve heard all of that and frankly find it embarrassing.

My dear friend died 3 1/2 weeks ago after a valiant fight against cancer. A fight she knew all along she wouldn’t win. I spent the past 15 months helping her with her fight. I took her to appointments; I picked up medication; I was her advocate with the doctor, nurses, and other medical personnel; I took her to chemo and brought drinks and snacks I thought she’d like; I spent time with her; we took a couple of great trips; I held her hand and told her I loved her. I say all of this just to give some background before sharing what is bothering me tonight.

Part of me feels I was a good friend…

But…

I keep thinking I should have done more. I should have been there more. I should have found more ways to spoil her. I should have fought harder for her. I should have made it better.

Is this feeling normal? Do other caregivers of ill or injured loved ones feel this way? How do I get over this guilt?

 

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2 thoughts on “Guilt…”

  1. i started to answer this earlier but was on my phone and it cut me off. So I will attempt to say now what I was trying to say then,,,,
    this is a normal part of grief for those who care for loved ones who will not get better. Being the care giver for a dying person is totally different from caring for a sick person. Sick people get better and we have the satisfaction of witnessing their recovery. When Debbie died you were left with a void. Now you are second guessing because you are grieving the loss of not just a great friend but the loss of a sense of purpose and focus. What you don’t realize is you gave Debbie the greatest gift ANY person can give another. First off, you gave yourself and that is amazing, you gave your time, you gave your compassion, you gave your heart. But more than all of that….you gave her the gift of a good death. She was in her own home, surrounded by all she had worked for and accomplished, with her family and her friend, she was not in a lot of pain, she was cared for by gentle kindness and her dignity was preserved, and she drifted off to sleep holding your hand and just continued to drift away. No matter what else you may now think you should have done nothing else would have mattered to her more than what you did for her. I am so sorry you are having to go through this right now but I promise you it is a phase of grief and you will emerge intact. I love you and am so proud of you.

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    1. Thank you. I thought it was probably just a phase of grieving. I’ve felt the same way about Mom. I guess, knowing me, I’ll always feel some sadness that I couldn’t/didn’t do more. I love you, too.

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